Building the worlds fastest computer

20 November 2008

IBM has just finished construction of the worlds fastest super computer, The Jaguar, clocking in at 1.1.05 petaflops and 362 terabytes of memory. Cray Computer has also recently finished a peta scale computer clocking in at 1.059 petaflops. A petaflop is a measure of a computer’s processing speed and can be expressed as a quadrillion or a thousand trillion floating point operations per second.That is 1,000,000,000,000,000 floating point calculations per second.FLOPS are floating-point operations per second. Floating-point is considered to be a method of encoding real numbers within the limits of finite precision available on computers.Using floating-point encoding, extremely long numbers can be handled relatively easily. A floating-point number is expressed as a basic number, an exponent, and a number base which is usually ten but may also be 2.So why is this important. Well it opens up a whole new avenue of geeky and scientific things like more precise climate simulation, folding protein simulation, simulating performance of SCRAMJET engines, and playing a mean game of chess.

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